The 4th trimester.
I was lying on my back in my pushing stage after trying many other options. My legs held up in my birth supports arms, I look up in dismay. Why am I in this position? My wise midwife says sternly. “No rules only tools Kerry”. The next push my daughter’s head appeared. This quote became a mantra in our home. A new born so known to you on the inside becomes a mystery on the outside. I remember thinking with a baby born a minute we should have only one manual. But alas we are all unique humans and therefore our needs are primal and for our parents to decode.
With so much emphasis on the birth it is easy to loose focus on why you wanted to become a mother. Preparing the baby’s room and getting all the stuff really overshadows the reality of the post natal weeks. Birthing is like a mothers sacrifice, passing through this intense threshold and provides a whole lot of strength to face parenting.
But are we becoming endangered beings by loosing our instincts?
We live in an information age which is so fantastic in many ways. But woman have been birthing and mothering forever and we are designed to know how to do it. Do you even trust your instincts?
The post natal time often dubbed the 4th trimester is slowly gaining more emphasis for support. Women have been neglected and isolated from care, too proud or just unable to find or know they need the right help.
An ancient tradition in China called zuoyezi or “Doing the month” is still practiced today. Essentially it is when a new mother is taken care of and given full support so she can focus solely on her baby and recovery. This was said to reduce illness and rebuild her blood and energy reserves. She can bond with her baby and concentrate on breastfeeding. Living with a mother or mother in law and strict rules like not washing hair, avoiding cold drafts and having few visitors were abided.
I love this idea but clearly not suited for our modern living. What I gain from this is adapting your own post natal support plan like: sleep when your baby does.
Have someone prepare some meals for your fridge and freezer preferably bone stock soups. Reduce visitors and avoid unnecessary appointments out of the house. Stay in your jammies and not care so much about housework.
Babies in this time Just want to hear your heartbeat and have no rhythm yet with sleep and feeding.
If you feel you need more support you can hire a private post natal midwife who offers medicare rebates and or a post natal doula. The breastfeeding association are only a phone call away and your maternal health nurse will have set you up with a mothers group
Bring back the days of asking for help and supporting each other. Having high expectations of our mothering skills and staying in control can be a rude awakening if your not flexible.
Remember those wise words, “No rules only tools”.
If you are interested in booking in with me for some post-partum care, I highly recommend a warming acupuncture treatment within the first 6 weeks of giving birth.
If you are keen to discover more about this important period post birth, there is a great book titled: The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality:
Kerry is available for consultation at Mornington Chinese Medicine on Tuesday and Friday.
To book please call 5973 6886.